The Physics and Technology behind Crop Circles

The alien origin of crop circles is frequently debunked by the best of scientists and technologists. The extraterrestrial origin of crop circles is frequently made convincing by the best of scientists and technologists. Do pranksters with time and money on their hands continue to make those fabulous and complex designs in large fields of grain, ruining the crops and costing the farmers money?

Or do mysterious forces or alien beings operate in ways that are beyond our comprehension to send us lessons and messages from some advanced civilization?

Of a total of about 10,000 crop circles in 26 countries, most have appeared in southern England. Of those circles in England, many are close to ancient monuments like Stonehenge. No human has demonstrated the process or proved to be the source by simply filming their work. No aliens have been filmed doing the work, either. It is all a mystery, since any credible scientist is compelled to insist on irrefutable proof before making a definitive statement.

The Art

But the most disturbing information is that crop circles date back to the 1600s. According to, the early circles appear to go with the technology of the times. In the earliest occurrences, the circles were described as being of simple design: circles, Celtic crosses and pictograms.

According to Live Science, it was not until the 1990s that the more elaborate designs began to appear. These crop circles appeared to represent increasingly advanced mathematical and physics formulas, with fractals and images that were theoretical representations of fractals and items from quantum physics. This is why crop circles have allegedly been called by Richard Taylor,  director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, “the most science oriented art movement in history”.

Artists may beg to differ, because all arts have always had a symbiotic and often recursive relationship with the sciences.

The Physics

The tools that crop circle creators have available to them are immensely more advanced than the original pole, rope and stomping method of England’s Golden Age.

There are airborne and satellite devices that can see the ground from far enough above the planet’s surface. There is Global Positioning Software that helps to locate and place elements of the work to within millimeters of tolerances. Computers in the lab and at the site serve to develop the complex layouts and designs. Lasers can give surveyor’s quality accuracy to the work.

But even though the skeptics have talked about the issue, not even the scientists have provided definitive answers or proof to the question. No one has actually used state of the art technology to capture and to film any of the terrestrial culprits in the act. No one has captured or filmed the extraterrestrial version of our wily human grain tramplers, either.

And that is what it would take to convince the vast majority of humans that crop circles are purely of domestic and human origin. Now that is the physics of human nature. People are sometimes compelled to leave a good mystery alone, and belief often tends to follow behind a good, strong compulsion.